Welfare applicants over 18 in South Dakota would be screened and tested for illegal drugs under a bill that will be introduced in the state legislature later this week. They would not receive the benefit if they test positive.

The bill’s main sponsor, Representative Lynne DiSanto of Rapid City says the bill would make sure welfare recipients don’t use taxpayer dollars inappropriately.

Those who test positive for drugs would be connected to treatment options.
DiSanto says the bill would require any welfare applicant to pay the approximately $25 to $30 initial drug test fee.

DiSanto says support for this bill has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

DiSanto’s next step is approaching tribal leaders across the state to get support for the bill.

DiSanto adds that just about any job requires some type of drug testing, and that should apply to welfare recipients as well. In 2011 and 2012, South Dakota lawmakers rejected bills requiring drug tests for welfare recipients.

At least 13 states have passed drug-testing or screening legislation for people receiving or applying for public assistance.